Her Eyes Got Me

by Mark Ivar Myhre on November 1, 2010

I passed a homeless woman the other day as I was walking to a store on Sandy Ave.

Nothing unique about that.  Portland welcomes the homeless like no town I’ve ever seen.  You can’t go anywhere in Portland without seeing them.

But this woman stuck out.  She couldn’t have been a day over 18, if she was even that old.  It was her eyes that got me.  She appeared to be in a state of shock.

Lying down on the sidewalk surrounded by her worldly possessions, she never even saw me or acknowledged my presence.  She just lay there, staring into the past or staring into the future; I’m not sure which.

I never broke my stride, but I couldn’t stop thinking about her.  How bad must her home life have been to run away?  How bad was she abused?  And now what’s going to happen to her?

I vowed to at least give her a few dollars once I left the store.  More importantly I would listen to her story.

She wasn’t there when I walked out.  Which seemed incredulous, since she appeared almost incapacitated by fear when I saw her a few minute earlier.  Plus, just picking up and organizing her stuff so she could carry it all must have taken at least a minute or two.

I would have been surprised just to see her sitting up.  Instead she vanished without a trace.

Maybe some guy came along and lured her away.  I looked all around but she was long gone.

Every time I drive down that street I can’t help glancing over to where I first saw her.

And she’s just one of so many thousands of people here in Portland.

I don’t feel guilty or even uncomfortable seeing them.  Instead, I try to FEEL THEM.  I try to feel their energy.  I’m curious to know what they feel, so I open my heart wide and full and just take in their energy.

Sometimes I feel their pain or their anger or their despair.  Many times I see their shame.  Most times it touches me.

It inspires me to heal myself, to love and accept myself more, and to find my own home.

What can I do as one small person?

Start ladling out soup at the local homeless shelter?  Or…

Use this as motivation to work on myself?

I can only be responsible for what I can be responsible for.

If I felt the call to ladle soup, that’s what I would do.  Instead, I feel the call to work on myself more diligently.  Where am I homeless?  Where am I lost?  Where have I lost my way?  Where am I freaked out of my mind?  What’s the bigger picture here?

How can I connect with a greater sense of home – with my true home?

These are the types of questions that come to mind.

I’m very aware this young woman was somehow a product of my shadow, because she had such an impact on me.  Her eyes haunted me for a week.

Whenever someone in your life has that much impact – especially when you can’t stop thinking about them, you can bet they’re a reflection of your shadow.

Your shadow exists in a very real way.  It’s a part of your soul.  Your shadow wants to help you; it can be your ally.

Here’s one little example:

Let’s say there’s a person in your life you have to interact with on a regular basis, but there’s something about them you can’t stand.  Maybe it’s a mannerism, or an attitude, or their belief system – it could be anything.

It drives you crazy.  But you have to be around the person.  You feel trapped.  You don’t know what to do and the stress is getting to you.

Well, you could work it all out in meditation, by going to your shadow.  You could RESOLVE the issue purely in meditation.  Then, either they would change, or they would leave, or something else would happen so it no longer was an issue for you.

That’s what shadow work can do for you.

Here’s another example:

You want greater success; either something specific like the shiny red sports car, or it could be in a general sense.  Maybe you just want to FEEL more successful.  (That would be a wise desire.)

Again, you can go to your shadow – in meditation – and ask it to show you exactly what’s holding you back.  And it will.  Your shadow will take you to the room that holds the energy of what’s keeping you from the success you want.

Keep in mind: not only does your shadow literally think and feel just as you can think and feel, it also possesses infinitely more wisdom than you.  Your shadow is smart.  It knows exactly what you need to succeed.

And it’s perfectly willing to help you if you ask.

Now, it’s not your drinking buddy or your best girl friend.  It’s not going to go shopping with you or hang out and watch the football game.

It’s not your friend; but it can be your ally.

Your shadow is way too powerful for you to play around with or take lightly.  I recommend taking it slowly at first, and ALWAYS give it the respect it deserves.

I’ve been meeting and working with my shadow for over ten years.  I see it as a person – sometimes light, sometimes dark – who lives in a huge shining castle of light.  For most of those ten years I wandered its dank underground catacombs filled with fear that made me shiver.  I spent years (going there once a month or so in meditation) moving from room to room embracing my own repulsiveness.

Why would I do such a crazy thing?

So I can heal that repulsive energy; so I can stop my painful patterns so I don’t have to keep living them; so I can grow and change and evolve.  And so I can end the fear!!!

And so I can make sure the depression never  comes back.

I deal with my garbage in meditation – in my shadow – so I don’t have to play it out in the world around me.  Or I try to, anyway.

Only in the last year or two have I discovered MOST of my shadow is filled with light – not darkness.  Filled with all the power I deny.  All the love I reject.  All the success I fear.  All the happiness I refuse to feel.

Again, as I go from room to room in my shadow, I can reclaim that power, that love, that success and that happiness.  And my life changes.

Sometimes it seems like a short-cut to change.  But really, it’s just the nature of the shadow.

One trip to your shadow can end a problem that’s been going on for years.  It can end a problem that will CONTINUE to go for years, if you don’t take concrete steps to resolve it.  That’s the power of your shadow.

And now you too can work with your shadow just as I do.  I’ve created a meditation you can do over and over again.  And it can be a different experience every single time you do it.

It’s not complicated or difficult, but this is not for wimps.  It can be intense.


I would be a miserable person if I’d never worked with my shadow.  To put it mildly.



karen November 1, 2010 at 12:07 pm

tempted to buy this Mark…..the “warrior” reference is getting to me. Im going to try to talk myself out of it though.

frank November 1, 2010 at 11:39 pm

hey Mark i see you sitting in a flash house promoting innner self, i see in the reflection in the window ,MMMM how do i say this with out being rude, Why dont you go and spend some of your cash in the soup kithcen and dont laddle soup, SHITm feed them solids, M8 im dirty that you can sit on the hill and listern to the birds, while the poor sleep on the streets, think about it..
Sorry if i burden you with me words but the people that work the soup kitchens make a difference WHY dont you go and help and listern to them, they all have a story.. Glad to seee you live on top of the hill and live good.. The good samaratian allways help check it out in the bible my brother I hope to hear from this reply.. Yours truly frank brady

Mark Ivar Myhre November 2, 2010 at 12:21 am

I’m flattered that you see me as someone with money!

Matt November 2, 2010 at 1:22 am

I think your being unfair with your judgments here. People have different callings in life to pass judgment on what you believe another should do is a opinion of your own and is rude to force on another in the way you have. To feed the poor is just as important as to teach the poor. By poor I mean the low in spirit not financial capacity. Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime Chinese Proverb.

Tim November 2, 2010 at 1:16 am

If helping people has made Mark wealthy, then good for him, he deserves to be, couldn’t have happened to a nicer person! Mark, i’m not sure where you get your insights from, but they are inspiring. I love reading them…

Stephanie November 2, 2010 at 12:45 pm

Hi Mark

Love and light to you, I have been receiving your emails for years and to be honest most have been meaningful to me in some way. You put the best of intentions out into the world with your insights. Everyone makes choices that create their own reality that they are responsible for, yes, we have empathy and compassion and help others where we can, I took in a teenager who was a friend of my daughter. He was feeling insecure and unhappy in his home, I was there for him as a friend, an adult he could talk to. He stole from me. I did my best, you did your best. You’re thought about her turned back and she had vanished, that is what was meant to be.

I suggest everyone reads, “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz
Very amazing

Roy November 7, 2010 at 2:01 pm

Ha Mark

Maybe that post about the soup kitchen is a suggestion where you might find those eyes.

Who knows? The shadow KNOWS.

Live long and prosper.

Mark Ivar Myhre November 7, 2010 at 2:54 pm

You know what, Roy?

I actually did go by a soup kitchen yesterday, as well as a homeless shelter.

I didn’t actually do anything at those two places, I just wanted to understand them better.

Years ago I was homeless for over a month but I never associated with other homeless people. I kept to myself during that time.

Most likely I’ll revisit those two places here in Portland. Who knows where it will lead?

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